An Innovation and Prototyping Integrated Centre (iPIC) that seeks to facilitate innovation, development, prototyping and manufacturing is set to be inaugurated at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The Centre to be centrally located at Engineering Workshops building will host modern facilities that provide machinery and advanced prototyping platform for innovation, invention and education. The facility will be the first to be realized through the Africa –ai- JAPAN project supported by JICA is slated to stimulate and strengthen Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in Africa through JKUAT and Pan African University Institute of Basic Sciences Technology and Innovation (PAUSTI).
Prof. Manabu Tsunoda, Chief Adviser, Africa –ai- JAPAN project noted that the Centre will encourage integrated and interdisciplinary approach to innovation, using resident knowledge in JKUAT and PAUSTI.
“It is designed to produce the next generation of scientists who can leverage on endogenous knowledge and wisdom to come up with sustainable solutions to problems afflicting the continent,” said Prof. Tsunoda.
In addition, the facility is envisaged to provide a stimulus for entrepreneurship, mentorship and scholarship driven with acquired knowledge, resources, and experiences. It will be equipped with an array of flexible computer controlled tools and machinery for use in designing and fabricating technologically advanced products generally perceived as limited to mass production.
The Centre will fully utilize existing facilities of Engineering Workshop together with these new equipment towards innovation. New equipment such as 3-D printers to be incorporated could also be useful to fabricate broken or overused spare parts of exiting laboratory equipment.
Africa –ai- JAPAN project was formalized mid 2014 following the agreement of the Government of Japan through JICA to be the Lead Thematic Partner in the implementation of the African Union led Pan African University. The inaugural graduation for the pioneer students at the JKUAT based PAUSTI was held in November 2014.
Other facilities programmed to be realized through the project include Innovation Centre for Bio-resources (iCB) and Innovation Centre for Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (iCMoB).